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TEFAL Professional’s Interview about Frying

Healthy frying – is that even possible? Are fries made in an air fryer really healthier? Our big food feature around the TEFAL ActiFry has us taking a closer look for the new issue of sisterMAG. Read the interview with nutritionist Dr. Kathrin Vergin who took the time to answer our questions about frying.

Frying and healty



To find the answers, we asked nutrition expert DR. KATHRIN VERGIN about everything to do with frying.

Info box:

The TEFAL ACTIFRY does not only fry your recipes with much less oil – thanks to the automatic stirring arm you can also dispense with manual stirring and look forward to a delicious meal.

Tell us a little about yourself – who are you and where do you work?

The topic of nutrition has been a part of my life since I was a teenager. The topic of weight has always been part of my everyday life. Through my research and doctorate in oncological chemistry, I became more and more involved with the topic of “EATING BEHAVIOUR” and related patterns. I wanted to find out what influence our diet has on certain metabolic processes and how this affects cell changes, for example. In addition, I spent four years as a manager in a food laboratory, where I investigated ingredients and additives and was able to assign certain ingredients to these patterns. It was the closing of a cycle for me.

How did you come to be a nutritionist?

My own story led me to nutrition counselling. A few years ago I weighed 18 kg more than I do today. I finally wanted to find an approach that would work sustainably, even without diets. I combined the patterns recognized in my research with professional findings and the subject of emotions. This is how today’s approach came about, with which I help people to get their “EMOTIONAL EATING BEHAVIOUR” under control and to finally be slim withoutstarvation or diet. The topic of “EMOTIONAL FOOD” became the core of my work.

I was also passionate about participating in triathlons, which I have been doing for almost five years at the Ironman distance (3.8km swimming, 180km cycling and 42km running). It’s a perfect complement to my diet. With my coaching I help athletes optimize their nutrition for their next competition so they can maximize their performance and achieve new personal bests.

I have been working in this field for almost 10 years now and am always happy when I can help people in the areas of nutrition, weight loss, or health to achieve an improved lifestyle.

What happens to the body when it absorbs fat?

Let’s take a look at frying, whether it’s French fries, fish, or a delicious pastry. We love these foods and eat them with pleasure. This is sometimes due to the fat we use. In general, our body needs fat. It is important for the body because it supplies essential fatty acids that our organism cannot produce itself. Our brain would no longer function properly if we did not consume fat. Fat is also a FLAVOUR CARRIER. Many of the tastes we love can only dissolve well in fat, and thus fully develop their aroma. If fat is missing, flavour is still there – but the result is rather bland. Fat does not taste good to us at first because only the free fatty acids develop taste on our tongue. The triggers are free fatty acids that are broken down in the mouth with the help of certain enzymes, so-called lipases, from dietary fats. Only the free fatty acids are recognized by certain receptors in your mouth.

What are the differences between conventional frying and frying with a hot air fryer?

In recent years in particular, people have increasingly paid attention to their diet. Organic food is more important to us than ever before and we are placing more value on regional and seasonal products. So if you want to combine regional organic products such as potatoes with the great taste of fries, ActiFry presents a fantastic option.

A hot-air deep fryer manages to combine the best of both worlds and deliver the perfect French fries without fat while remaining crispy. The secret is the use of hot air. It gently cooks the food and is above all fat-free. There are other benefits too: less unpleasant odours and no danger from frying hot fat. If you still don’t want to do without the distinctive taste of fried fat, you have the option of adding a few drops of healthy oil. This way the food gets an additional aromatic note. High-quality fats such as olive oil are a great option.

How does this preparation affect nutritional value of dishes?

For example: 100 grams of frozen French fries contain 320 calories. By comparison, 100 grams of raw potatoes contain only 80 calories! Deep-frozen fries prepared in the oven contain less fat than fried fries, but they often don’t get as crispy because the heat first has to melt the ice. The hot air fryer is a great alternative for preparing deep-frozen fries as it does not require any additional oil and even removes some fat from the fries. French fries prepared in the hot-air deep fryer have almost 80% less calories than fries from a traditional deep fryer.

In addition to fries, other vegetables can also be prepared by gently steaming them in the Actifry. As there is no direct contact between the vegetables and water, the vegetables preserve their own taste, shape, colour, and most vitamins and nutrients. Broccoli and cauliflower are particularly suitable for this type of cooking method. Steaming has another decisive advantage: less calories since no fat is being used.

What are the advantages of hot air fryers?

If we summarize much of what we’ve already discussed, we can see advantages such as easy operation and even less time required for cleaning. The preparation possibilities for a hot air deep fryer are much greater than for a classic deep fryer. All goods that can be prepared in a fat fryer can also be cooked in a hot air fryer. Conversely, this is not necessarily the case. In addition, frying without fat at a lower temperature is not only good for preserving vitamins and nutrients but it also reduces calories. Furthermore,

hot air fryers protect against the absorption of trans fats or acrylamide. I have been a fan of French fries my whole life and therefore consider myself an authority on the matter. Fries from the Tefal Actifry taste fantastic. As a nutritional coach, I have the added joy of being able to endorse an alternative that delivers enjoyment without a bad conscience.

What is your conclusion about ActiFry?

Yes, you can fry better! Homemade French fries made from fresh potatoes turn golden brown and crispy in the hot air deep fryer while saving up to 80% fat content compared to a conventional deep fryer in which fries are cooked in hot oil. A direct comparison between a hot-air deep fryer and a classic deep fryer shows that a hot-air deep fryer prepares food much healthier and more gently. It’s a beautiful appliance that can be confidently recommended in light of my experience as a nutrition coach.